Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Students Strive for Gold at Annual International Computing Olympiad

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Students Strive for Gold at Annual International Computing Olympiad

Article excerpt

Each year, high school students gather to partake in the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI, online at www.ioinformatics.org), a competition of computer science skills that draws 300 contestants from 80 delegations worldwide. And like their athletic Olympic counterparts, contenders in the IOI flock to the competition for one reason: a love of their sport, which, in this case, is computer programming. As Brenda Chow of IBM, a sponsor of the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO), says, "For [the students], programming competitions are extracurricular activities they do because they love to, not because they have to."

Team USA took third place in the 2004 competition, which was held in September. The USACO team has consistently ranked in the top three since the competition's inception 16 years ago.

The team is trained by an all-volunteer group of coaches and leaders, including some former IOI competitors. To prepare the students' skills in Java programming and the Eclipse universal platform, this all-volunteer staff uses IBM's CodeRuler, a game where players must program a strategy to defeat their opponents in a medieval world of conquest. …

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